All the ‘Despicable Me’ Movies in Order, from ‘Minions’ to ‘Despicable Me 4’, Explained by a ‘Minions’ Fanatic

Get steal...the mooooooooon!

despicable me movies in order

When Despicable Me first premiered in 2010, I thought it was a good laugh, but found Gru’s yellow henchmen rather annoying. Fast forward 14 years, and I have probably single-handedly propped up the multi-billion-dollar Minion marketing machine. Yes, at 27 years old, I am a mega Minions fan (what can I say? I love kids’ movies), which is why I was completely stoked over the announcement that Despicable Me 4 hits theaters July 3, 2024. And I’m not the only one. The series is the top-grossing animated franchise of all time, having raked in over $4 billion to date, per Box Office Mojo’s data.

After the well-received first installment, the franchise spawned Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, Minions and Minions: The Rise of Gru. It all centers on Felonious Gru (Steve Carell), an ambitious supervillain, his hoard of mischievous (and iconically yellow) minions and their bumbling exploits—like stealing the moon. Gru is eventually joined by adoptive daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), and Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) on a slew of adventures that have simultaneously kept me on the edge of my seat and howling with laughter.

With the coming release of the latest film, you may want to watch the Despicable Me movies in order so you can brush up on your Minions history before the premiere. (Or just get some Halloween costume inspiration.) The movies are available on various platforms, from Peacock to Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. Below, I’ve listed them out in both chronological order and by release date. Get ready to plop on that comfy couch with some popcorn (though I’m sure the Minions would prefer you bring a ba-na-na) and hit play.

Despicable Me Movies in Order by Release Date

  • Despicable Me (2010)
  • Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  • Minions (2015)
  • Despicable Me 3 (2017)
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
  • Despicable Me 4 (2024)

Despicable Me Movies in Chronological Order

  • Minions (1968)
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru (1976)
  • Despicable Me (2009)
  • Despicable Me 2 (2010)
  • Despicable Me 3 (2011)
  • Despicable Me 4 (TBD)

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1. Minions

  • Release Date: July 10, 2015
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes

Admittedly, this is not my favorite film of the entire franchise, but it lays some important groundwork. We see the Minions from their nascent origins as amoebas in 3.8 billion B.C., to the Cretaceous and Paleolithic era serving terrible masters. (Ahem, a T. Rex and caveman.) They have a penchant for killing every villain they serve. They pull back the curtains (literally) on Dracula’s 357th birthday, blow up Napoleon with his own cannonball and crush Pharoh with one of the pyramids of Giza (inadvertently constructed upside down)...and that’s just a start. The real action of Minions starts in 1968 (we see the origin of their ubiquitous overalls) when they meet their most resilient master yet: Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock). The mission: Steal Queen Elizabeth II’s crown. (Corgis are involved.) From hypnotizing guards at the Tower of London to getting trapped in a torture chamber, the Minions must prove their capabilities because they’re about to meet the ultimate villain worth serving: Gru. 

2. Minions: The Rise of Gru

  • Release Date: July 1, 2022
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan de Val
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 27 minutes

After being disappointed by the Minions movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the follow-up act. However, every great villain needs an origin story, and Gru delivers. Here, we see an 11-year-old Gru in 1976 plotting his way into the circle of the Vicious Six, his villainous childhood idols. Along the way, we see how he first meets his right-hand man, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and is trained by the legendary Wild Knuckles, Gru’s hero. Meanwhile, the Minions are up to no good. Orthodontia-laden Otto (one of my favorites) is tasked with the safekeeping of the Zodiac Stone but—no surprise here—totally fumbles the ball and trades it for a pet rock. He then does a cross-country (or cross-desert) trek at the speed of light pedaling a plastic tricycle to retrieve it. And in San Francisco, Kevin, Stuart and Bob get schooled in martial arts by Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh). I loved the overall story and how it incorporated the Chinese zodiac, but I also totally melted over the cute, quieter moments with Gru and his new minions. (Like when he comforts them from nightmares, and it turns into a slumber party.)

3. Despicable Me

  • Release Date: July 9, 2010
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Pierre Coffin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes

The original movie premiered in 2010 and is, in my opinion, the best. It has an incredibly unique storyline: villain becomes dad. Here, we meet a present-day Gru (circa 2009, DVR and all) on a quest to steal the moon, one-up a younger, hot-shot rival, Vector (Jason Segal) and win the approval of his apathetic mother. When Gru’s plan to steal a shrink ray from a top-secret facility goes awry, he adopts siblings Margo, Edith and Agnes as a ruse to get it back. (Girl Scout cookies are involved.) But Gru learns that even your best-laid (evil) plans won’t account for the most unexpected thing of all: love. (Also, a total tangent but worth noting, this movie has one of the most meme-able lines of the 21st century. So much so that Ms. Taylor Swift even found herself in the crosshairs.)

4. Despicable Me 2

  • Release Date: July 3, 2013
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Pierre Coffin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes

Confession: I am 100 percent here for the Minions at this point. (You have to see their end-of-movie ballad cover of “I Swear” by All-4-One and their art of seduction involving a flying car.) However, it’s also a funny, heartwarming movie about finding love. In the beginning, Gru’s neighbor is aggressively trying to set him up with a friend. Cue the flashbacks to Gru’s school days, when the entire school thought he had cooties. He adamently declines the offer, maintaining that he will be going on no dates. But lo and behold, Anti-Villan League agent Lucy Wilde waltzes into his life...or rather, lipstick tasers and abducts him. As the duo work together to solve the mystery of a stolen mutagen (and Gru’s increasingly absent Minions), both discover that it’s possible to be loved for exactly who you are.

5. Despicable Me 3

  • Release Date: June 30, 2017
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Pierre Coffin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes

Despicable Me 3 is the Minions’ crowning glory moment. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have played their “Minion Idol” scene on YouTube (and attempted to sing along). They also...go to jail, led by the rebellious Mel, after he leads a revolt against Gru, who refuses to return to villainy. However, due to Gru and Lucy’s failure to capture ‘80s supervillain Balthazar Bratt during a mission to recover the Dumont Diamond, both have been fired from the Anti-Villain League. While the minions are terrorizing their fellow prisoners, Gru and family discover his long-lost brother and polar opposite, Dru, while Lucy acclimates to her new role as a mom. The brothers team up to steal back the diamond and stop Bratt from destroying Hollywood, with bubble gum, dance fights and a keytar all playing key roles.   

6. Despicable Me 4

  • Release Date: July 3, 2024
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Chris Renaud, Patrick Delage
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Joey King, Will Ferrell, Sofía Vergara, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Madison Skyy Polan, Pierre Coffin
  • Runtime: 1 hour 25 minutes

This is my most anticipated movie of the summer, if not the year. Based on the two trailers, we know that Gru will face an old nemesis, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), and the latter’s femme fatale girlfriend (Sofía Vergara). There will be a host of other new characters, including the supervillain or superhero protégée, Poppy (Joey King), accompanied by her Dance-Dance-Revolution-playing cat; baby (!) Gru Jr. who hates his dad and a new minion, Ron. I’m personally excited to see the Minions overrun the Anti-Villain League headquarters, be transformed into Captain America-esque superheroes and wreak havoc with their usual antics, this time by way of exploding soda pop, microwave popcorn and ginormous jell-os.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Which Order Should I Watch Minions?

For the most comprehensive viewing experience and the complete Despicable Me timeline, you should watch the movies in this order: Minions, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3 and Despicable Me 4.

Which Movie Came First, Minions or Despicable Me?

The first movie to be released in the Despicable Me franchise was Despicable Me in 2010. However, in the Despicable Me universe, Minions (2015) is the first movie in chronological order, which details the evolution of the Minions and how they first meet Gru.

Is Despicable Me 4 Out?

Despicable Me 4 will be released July 3, 2024.

How Many Minions Movies Are Out?

There are two Minions movies: Minions (2015) and Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022).

MW 10

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